Acknowledging that racial profiling exists among some Los Angeles police officers but is almost impossible to prove, the city’s Police Commission has ordered the department to create a mediation process that allows citizens to confront cops they accuse of targeting them because of their race, reports the Los Angeles Daily News. The commission demanded that the independent inspector general audit the department’s investigations into complaints of profiling – none of which has ever been found true.
“We are not calling people racists,” said commissioner John Mack, former head of the Los Angeles Urban League. “But what we are saying is there are some occasional acts and instances where people are not getting treated fairly based on the color of their skin. So we have to get a handle on it, as objectively as we can.” The new mediation is an attempt to build a better relationship between officers and a historically distrustful community. Two separate studies, presented to the commission this week showed that agencies rarely can prove racial profiling and many don’t even have an investigative category for such a claim. Criminologist Lorie Fridell testified before the commission that even cases she considered a clear example of racial profiling were difficult to prove barring verbal evidence or an officer’s confession. “I believe racial-bias policing occurs,” she said. “Just to say racial-bias policing exists doesn’t mean we can always see when it’s happening or even know when it’s not happening.”